By God’s grace our kids were feeling a little bit better today than they were yesterday. Both of them got good sleep last night and Titus will probably go back to school tomorrow. We were pretty concerned about Avery’s cough and congestion but that seems to have gotten significantly better today which is such a blessing. It’s always hard to hear your kids cry over their sickness which is exactly what was going on last night for Avery.
Tonight before dinner I took them both outside to play. The weather has been staying in the low 60s and with the sunlight sticking around later in the evening it makes it much easier to do that while Bethany makes dinner. Above you can watch a little video of Titus hitting the baseball in the backyard. He was actually the one who initiated the play time outside. Earlier today Bethany took them to the park to play and he had so much fun outside that I think he really wanted to go out again tonight. Our kids are definitely enjoying being outside more of late. The rest of the week is supposed to be rainy and colder so it was nice to get some time outside tonight.
275. That’s how many days we’ve been in Czech and how many blogs we have written since arriving. It’s really hard to believe that time has gone by so fast these past nine months. Life here has definitely been an adjustment, but I can’t help but be reminded how good God has been to us. Every so often I have to remember why we called this blog “It’s all grace.” Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people…” I didn’t deserve that grace, but the Lord saved me despite my sin and gave me the righteousness of Christ! And 2 Timothy 1:9 reminds us that God, “…saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began…” I couldn’t work for that amazing salvation, but it was simply an act of His grace. These are just two of many verses on God’s grace, but they are a sweet reminder to me that each and every day–especially the past 275 days–God’s grace has been poured out in a sweet and full way on me and my family. I hope you too can be reminded of the Lord’s grace today on your life.
Every day before I write the blog, I ask Bethany if she has any photos or stories from the day that would be worth sharing. Usually we both go through our phones and see what we have, but today we only found this photo of a guitar (above) that I got today at the Josiah Venture offices. Our teammate, Daniel, has his brother and their friend here in Czech for a little while and they brought him this guitar from the States. Daniel brought the guitar in today to show us and we even enjoyed a few minutes of him playing and singing. I joined the fun too and played a few worship songs which I haven’t really done much of lately. Actually, one of the songs I played is a favorite modern hymn-like song from Matt Papa called “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery.” The truths described in this song are great and it was one of the songs we should sing on Easter or at least the week before to get our hearts prepared. Here’s a YouTube video of it for you to listen to.
Other than singing for a little bit today, we spent a lot of time this after speaking during our Czech lesson with Jenny and Landen. The Czech language has been kind of piling up in our brains so we spent time today just reviewing and trying to see how much we could speak and remember. Jenny was kind enough to put together a little sheet for us to help learn a few of the different cases in Czech. It’s hard when you learn just how hard Czech is. There are so many cases and endings to words you can literally have dozens (yes, plural dozens) of forms for the color green, for example. Whereas in English we have one word for “green” Czech has a billion (not literally, but it feels that way). So we spent time today working through that and making statements like “five green pens.” It might sound simple, but it’s not. Hard or not, we are plowing forward and continue to do our best to get as much Czech in our brains as possible.
Lastly, and sadly, Avery’s sickness has gotten much worse. Today she had a really bad cough and was running a fever in the afternoon. We may end up taking her to the doctor this week if she doesn’t improve. Tonight we kind of wheezing and I think her throat is hurting because it was the first time she has ever asked us to give her medicine. Normally she despises the meds, but tonight she was walking down the hallway saying, “Medicine…medicine!” It was really sad, but she’s been a sleep for a few hours now and I haven’t heard her. Hopefully she’ll get rest tonight and feel better in the morning. Thanks for praying with us!
The kids might be battling sickness, but that didn’t stop Bethany from making sure they got a little sun today. We had a nice warm day today (around 60 degrees) and in the afternoon Bethany and the kids had a little lunch on our driveway. Bethany sent me this photo (above) of Avery relaxing in her chair. Every time I look at it I start laughing. Both the growth of our kids and their personalities is just a joy to watch. Avery especially has been making us laugh a lot this week with the things she’s saying. She has been so talkative and full of questions. I love to watch her explore and figure things out. Below you can see Titus playing on my skateboard. He too has been growing a ton and continues to surprise us as we see his gentle heart come out. He love his little sister, even though he often is way too rough with her. Titus requires a lot more energy right now, but I’m also seeing him mature so much. Please continue to pray for them as they cough and sneeze and hopefully are still able to get some rest tonight.
Speaking of children, I took a silhouette photo of Bethany (below) because today marks the 30 week mark in her pregnancy. While praying with Titus and Avery at bed time tonight Avery reminded me to “Pray for the baby to come, Daddy.” Pray we did and I was thankful for the reminder to ask the Lord to continue to grow this new life inside of Bethany. As the day approaches, I’m getting more excited to meet this little girl and watch her grow and change. This Friday we’ll meeting with another missionary to talk through hospital stuff and birth plan for the Czech hospital. I think we may have found a good place to deliver, but we still need to take a tour and see what we think.
We needed to go to the mall to get a few things tonight, so we decided that after our Czech lessons late this afternoon that we would eat out. Tonight’s speciality was Burger King and the kids loved it. Burger King in Czech is way better than the States and I say this without any hesitation. Maybe you’re thinking “well, that’s not too hard,” but I can say that it genuinely hit the spot tonight and we all enjoyed our food. We’re finding that Czech has absolutely changed both are taste and appetites. The kids really wanted “prince” and “princess” crowns as they called them and during dinner they were telling each other “Hello, prince” or “Hello, princess” and bowed to each other. They were especially happy tonight for some reason, but I’m definitely not complaining. We had a fun time together and I told Bethany when we got home, “I needed tonight.” It was a really fun evening that ended with a great cup of coffee.
Here’s two photos of the kids being silly at dinner.
It’s another late night so I’m going to keep this one short, but I wanted to point out the photo above which happened today while driving to the Josiah Venture office. You can be going down the road and all of a sudden there’s a huge drop off, the road is all torn up, and then they are literally a few feet away from you adding new asphalt. It’s incredible. I’m actually laughing about it because you would never see anything like that in the States.
Above are photos of our time tonight enjoying some pineapple upside down cake and working on fixing computers. Jenny and Landen Llamas came over and I was helping fix some things on each of their computers, and we just enjoyed some fellowship and hang out time. I’m still finishing up some stuff on Jenny’s computer now, and finishing up this post. Overall it’s been a fun time of laughing and talking and I’m thankful for our friendship with them. It still blows my mind that we get to server with people like the Llamas, who we knew in the States and now live in the same town here in Czech. God is good!
I sat by myself up in the second story of church this morning because everyone in the family is sick. With the kids having coughs, sneezing, and runny noses we weren’t about to put them in to their classes and Bethany hasn’t been able to stop coughing all day. It probably doesn’t help that it was rainy and about a high of 35 degrees today, but needless to say the sickness continues. I’ve had a sore throat all week, but today was my best day yet and I really didn’t want to miss church. I did my best to follow along with the message and all I can say is that I heard the word for “now” a lot. I’m not exactly sure what that was all about it, but I’m glad I was there with God’s people.
Back at home, however, Bethany didn’t really want to lose the entire day so she spent some time with the kids decorating for Easter. When I got back they had hung up a big sign that our church in the States made for us which says, “He is risen” in Czech. It was up above our couch and now we get to see it and enjoy it. Also, the kids put up little sticky letters on one of our doors which says, “Happy Easter!” Above is a photo of the big sign and below is a photo of the kids with their door decorations, including the little egg basket above them and the little sticky eggs you can see behind them.
It’s always a joy to look to Easter. Even though we won’t be celebrating the risen Savior in our own language, I’m looking forward to seeing how our Czech church will celebrate. And I had the added joy of listening to Avery today as she talked about how “Easter is about Jesus rising from the dead!” It’s such a simple truth coming from her lips. Jesus did rise from the grave. He has power even over death! It’s those truths that have changed the hearts of many and by His grace will continue to be proclaimed to the nations. I’m really looking forward to Easter Sunday. It’s one of the best days of the year and I’m thankful that my family was helping me prepare my heart for the celebration of remembering our risen Lord.